I think perhaps I do, a little too much. The latest acquisition is a very benign Japanese Carpenter’s Knife from Lee Valley. While fullfilling two (shiny, pointy) of the three requirements (shiny, pointy, lights up) of tool porn, this heavy blade is all about utility. It reminds me of the knives I used to see in the market in Kochi in Southern Japan; brutally sharp, but designed for work, not violence.
Catherine and I flew from Toronto to Kansas City on Friday night. Crossing the US border is always a pain at the best of times, but now with mandatory fingerprinting and photo-taking, it’s even worse.
I didn’t think much when my carry-on caused the scanner to throw a conniption, since there was all sorts of digital camera and GPS trickery inside. What made me gasp was that they exclaiming, “He’s got keys in there!”.
So they took me aside, and asked me to open up the top pocket of my luggage. The agent dug out my keys, and turned them over in her hand. I blanched when I realised that my Swiss+TechÂ® Utili-KeyÂ® was still on my keyring. I just about passed out when she dropped the keys back in my bag, and told me to be on my way.
The Utili-KeyÂ®, if you don’t know it, is a tiny multi-tool that looks a bit like a key, and clips onto your keyring. Its main feature is that it has a very sharp, 4.5cm blade on it:
You might be able to hurt someone with it. It’s certainly a lot more fierce than the nail clippers or knitting needles they’ve been confiscating.
It was a complete accident that this was in my hand luggage. It wasn’t any attempt to prove a point, discredit border security, or anything more than an oversight. I guess my terrorist appearance potential is pretty low (unless you’ve seen my OHIP photo card). Flying with your partner on a wee regional jet is also hardly known terrorist scenario (unless Catherine’s secretly joined the direct-action brigade of the Merched y Wawr [literally “Daughters of Dawn”]). But if an entirely harmless Quaker wind farm designer can get a blade on to a plane, I can’t help but wonder what someone more determined could do.